… continued from yesterday… in honor of Crown's returning Internship students I am posting the manuscript from their commissioning on February 17, 2012…
Ministry can be really hard; life on this earth can be really hard. And I have at times, honestly, had a hard time excepting that truth. Perhaps it could be said that I modeled a lot of my ideals in the early years of ministry off of the exciting ministry of Philip. I often found inspiration from Philip in the book of Acts. Look at Acts chapter 8:
1. JUICY FRUIT: Something remarkable happens with Philip. He is a pastor that has this seemingly blessed life of fruitfulness. He has ‘juicy fruit’ in his life and ministry. He has what we would consider a very fruitful ministry. Whatever he does just turns into something amazing. Let’s pick the story of Philip up in Acts 8:4.
Now, for a moment, I want to ignore the first three verses of chapter 8. I don’t want to look at chapter 8 verses 1 to 3. I just want to ignore that because that is not why I am in ministry. I am not in ministry for the persecution. Right? I really didn’t get into ministry so that I could be persecuted. Right? So I’m just going to ignore that for a moment and just focus on all of the great things… because I love to idealize ministry. And I love to idolize ministry… because it makes me feel really good about myself.
So I had this idealistic picture of what life was going to be like if I followed after God and if you love God… everything should just work out smoothly. After all, that’s what happened to Philip, right? Look at this, in 8:4: “The believers who fled Jerusalem (oops, just ignore that line for a moment) they went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus.” Awesome! They went everywhere preaching about Jesus. For the moment I don’t want to think about why they went everywhere… they were kind of forced to… but lets ignore that for a second. “They went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus. Philip, for example…” So cool! Philip is the first, perhaps the best, example of the believers who went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus.
“Philip went to Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. “Crowd’s listened intently.” He was a really good speaker! “Crowds listened intently to what he had to say because of the miracles he did.” Now, I haven’t seen too many miracles in my ministry, so I’ll just ignore that part of the sentence for now… but my heart perks up when I read that the crowds listened intently. As a speaker, as a pastor, I really like that idea, so I’ll just notice that part for now.
Acts 8:7: “Many evil spirits were cast out…” Wow! Powerful ministry! “… screaming as they left their victims…” Really dynamic powerful ministry! “… and many who had been paralyzed or lame had been healed so there was great joy in that city.” Wow, Philip is productive. And that’s what I imagined ministry should always be like. Really intense and passionate and awesome with many amazing things happening.
2. BIG GUNS: Infact, Philips ministry was so great that he became the “next great thing” in ministry. He was publishing the books (not really, but you know what I mean), he was the speaking circuit tour at all the conferences and everybody wanted to hang out with him… so much so, in fact, his ministry was going so great, that the “big guns” had to come in. The apostles had to come up to Samaria to help him! And so I was thinking that if I love God and love ministry it’s going to go so great that even the famous, high profile leaders are going to have to come help me… or acknowledge me… or popularize me… or glorify me because God would make everything work out in ministry. Early on in my days of ministry I expected that there would just naturally be fruit everywhere and then the ‘big guns’ would have to notice and say “Hey, look at Ken over there, he’s something else.” Because it was just going to go great, right?
So Peter has to come in, Acts 8:14. Check this out: “When the apostles heard back in Jerusalem that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit.” And amazing things continued to happen and there was fruitful ministry. And everything was working out great for Philip.
… Part 3 tomorrow…